About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Monday 22 April 2024

The lure of the moon in Charmouth

If it's the third weekend in April (or sometimes fourth when there's five weekends in the month), it must be roboteering in Crewkerne for Son the Elder and a bit of pottering around in Dorset for me. Like last year, I made for Charmouth to rehearse the poem I was due to read during the Lyra Bristol Poetry Festival closing event on Sunday evening in the sea's hearing. Unlike last year, it stayed sunny all day and was pleasantly warm.

Golden Cap in the middle distance

I also dug around in the shingle while I sat on the beach, amassing a pockeful of sea glass and some pebbles. A mindful trip through time and the rolling waves. 

Later in the afternoon, I decided to walk up the cliff path heading east, to see if I could get a closer view of Golden Cap from the top, and set off following the almost full moon that was just rising.

As I huffed my way up the steep path, I noticed a tiny piece of blue and white hoggin, which also made its way into my pocket.

I climbed and climbed past mounds and banks that reminded me of an iron-age hillfort, but isn't ... 

... and a ruined wall in the middle of a field to my left ... 

... and stunning sea views, with blackthorn and stitchwort, on my right ...

... with a steep drop on either side. 

a close-up of stitchwort

a scattering of bluebells


wild strawberries

first red campion of 2024

shining crane's-bill

gorse and the moon again

After about a mile and a half the path levelled out and skirted inland a little, a line of trees blocking most of the view up ahead, with the exception of the Isle of Portland. Sadly, I didn't have time to follow it or the moon any further, and what's more it was getting dusky, so I headed back downhill. 

Looking towards Lyme Regis and the Cobb

Although it doesn't show up in the photo, I could see all the way alond the coastline to Start Point in Southest Devon. 

more blackthorn and stitchwort

looking down on the River Char and a dewpond

Back on the beach, the last of the sun lit Golden Cap and the cliffs beyond. Maybe next time I'll even reach it.


Saturday 13 April 2024

Out on Lyde Green Common, deep in Badock's Wood

Son the Younger lives in Lyde Green, in the north-east of Bristol. The houses, shops, Science Park, etc were all built in the 2010s, so everything's very new, but just opposite his home is a country lane leadng to Lyde Green Common that still manages to look quite rural, so recently we went for a wander to see what we could see. 

Marsh Marigolds

Speckled wood

Greater Stitchwort

Bush vetch

There are some quite impressive trees in the woods around the edge of the common ... 

... and some out in the open. 

Thrush (top) and blackbird eggshells

Lyde Green Farm, now divided into housing units

It was a surprisingly peaceful walk, given we were right next to the M4, but then it was the Thursday before the Easter holiday and the motorway was more of a car park. This is where the path called The Dramway - a 19th century tramway that carried coal from Coalpit Heath and the other mines locally down to the River Avon - runs underneath it. 

Talking of which, here's Parkfield Colliery North Chimney. Because they closed a lot earlier than those that survived into the 1980s - in this instance, in 1936 - it's easy to forget just how many collieries there were in the Bristol coalfield.

Buff-tailed bumble bee

Despite the leafing trees and occasional butterfly, it was still very muddy, with a hint of lingering winter, at Lyde Green. Yesterday's walk, eight days later, at Badock's Wood was much more springlike.

on the round barrow

The first whitethorn blossom of the year is always a bit of a thrill. If there was a toy called 'My First Whitethorn' I'd play with it every day, and buy it for all the children I know. 

Very yellow cowslips (and celandines)

Building Cwtch's confidence in the water is fast turning into a magical experience. What's more, she's getting very brave.

River Trym

Grey wagtail

Wood anemones 

Horse Chestnuts lighting their candles

Badock's is a garlic wood rather than a bluebell wood, and I reckon it'll be another week to ten days before the garlic flowers reach constellation-status. Meanwhile, most of the bluebells here seem to be of the Spanish variety or hybrids. Leaving worries about the dilution of the bluebell gene pool to one side, there are still lots of woods around locally to get a fix of Hyacinthoides non-scripta, which we'll be doing very soon.

There were ravens up in the tree-tops in the middle of the wood, so I sat on the bench for a bit to listen to them. This spot always makes me feel melancholy, and it was my late mother's birthday to boot, but how can you feel sad for long with Her Cwtchness around, and spring well and truly doing its thing?